Panic at Wash. U.! School Fails to Make Top 100 in International Employability Survey

Nov 13, 2012 at 6:30 am
Not quite the gateway to international business success? - image via
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Not quite the gateway to international business success?

When you're paying more than $50,000 per year for your college education, you expect a return on your investment -- like, say, a job when you graduate.

So maybe you can understand the rumblings of panic emerging from Washington University after the International Herald Tribune released the results of the 2012 Global Employability Survey which asked recruiters from "hundreds" of leading companies to share the qualities they preferred in their new recruits, including which universities they attend.

And Wash. U. failed to make the top 100! Oh, no! In the words of an alarmist article in Student Life, "Students might want to stop their parents from turning their old bedrooms into home gyms, as they may find themselves crashing there for another few months post-graduation."

The most preferred universities, naturally, are the name-brand ones: Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, MIT, etc., along with Oxford and Cambridge for a little international flavor (and classy accents). Wash. U. appeared way down on the list, at a paltry 102. Even eliminating the pesky European and Asian universities didn't help much: Among American schools, Wash. U. is 32nd, behind the University of Michigan, Purdue and Arizona State -- all of which are public schools and, presumably, don't charge nearly as much in tuition.

"It's a disheartening stat," Amy Fjerstad, an anthropology major, told Student Life. "I feel a little bit more secure in the fact that I can major in a less job-secure field knowing that I have Wash. U. on my transcript to provide an advantage over other schools, but the rank doesn't really make it look like we do have that advantage."

Guess what, kid: An anthropology major pretty much guarantees that you'll end up in grad school anyway.

Officials at Wash. U.'s career center don't appear especially concerned."We're one of the top schools in the U.S. and there are a lot of steps Wash. U. takes in order to help students find a job after graduation," said Mark Smith, the center's director.

The poll, by the way, was conducted by a French consulting firm and a German research institute. If you look at the universities on the list, you'll notice that most of the top 50 are located in the most populated cities and regions of their countries. Which makes sense: People are lazy. Why would a recruiter for a Wall Street firm (or its international equivalent) travel to St. Louis (or its international equivalent) when he or she could find a promising new hire just a short train -- or even subway -- ride away?

But what about the companies near Wash. U.? That is to say, right here in St. Louis? We bet they'd consider Wash. U. the happiest hunting ground for new recruits, well, that is, provided they're able to hire a brand-new college grad. That would also mean, though, that Wash. U. grads would want to stay in St. Louis. Choices, people, choices.